Date of Birth:
Rachna Singh was born in Delhi, India in 1972. She grew up in Chandigarh, Punjab, India. Rachna was doing her Master’s degree in Psychology when she decided to apply for immigration. There was a new type of immigration at the time called the point system, where the Canadian government examines your education and your skills to determine if you could immigrate or not. Rachna immigrated to Canada under the skilled worker category. She applied in 1997 when she was unmarried. By the time she received all her approvals to immigrate, she was married and had a child.
In March of 2001, Rachna immigrated to Canada along with her husband and child. When she got off at the Vancouver airport, she was very excited. Since it was a new country, she wasn’t aware of the challenges that she was going to face. They stayed at a friend’s house, who is a well-known Punjabi writer named Sadhu Binning. He helped them find their first basement to live in. It was very small and Rachna wasn’t used to living in such a small space. In India, Rachna was a counselor and her husband was a well-known journalist. Rachna sees herself as a very fortunate person because she was able to find a job as a counselor through a friend. The majority of her experience in this job was positive. There was one incident in particular that she recalls facing. She was a counselor for people over the phone. Since she had an accent, one individual told her that he wanted to speak to someone that spoke ‘real’ English. However, the organization she worked for was very supportive of her with her manager even telling her during the interview that she was over-qualified for the job. In the beginning Rachna and her family had to overcome many barriers because an Indian education wasn’t valid in Canada at the time. Many people that were doctors in India were driving taxis here. According to Rachna, although Canada has tried to ease this difficulty, this struggle still exists.
Discrimination was still seen in the early 2000’s. When people immigrated here, they got used to the lifestyle but they didn’t know the history of Canada. Rachna has seen people of her own community talking about Indigenous peoples in a degrading manner. She is very happy to see the education system teaching children about the struggles that the Indigenous peoples had to face. She believes that this way, the children will go home and spread this knowledge to their parents. According to Rachna we have to be very compassionate and empathetic towards Indigenous peoples of Canada; we cannot forget what happened to them because it is their land that we are all living on.
Rachna is thankful to her family and friends that helped her through this journey. In Rachna’s eyes, racism and sexism is still an issue today. People that have any type of power need to recognize this.